Tiny Living and Money Matters

7 Tips for Keeping Your Refrigerator in Good Shape

For many Filipinos, a refrigerator is one of the most important home appliances they will buy. Indeed, while there are many affordable models, a refrigerator’s price in the Philippines makes it a significant investment.

As such, it’s only reasonable to want to maintain it so that it will stay in good shape for as long as possible.
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To help you achieve that goal, here are some refrigerator maintenance tips to keep in mind:

Check the Seals

If the seals on your fridge are loose, the cold air inside will seep out. This results not just in energy wastage, but also in your refrigerator’s condenser being overworked that ultimately results in a shorter lifespan.

Luckily, it’s easy to keep your refrigerator’s seals working perfectly. Just clean them using an old toothbrush dipped in a mixture of baking soda, water, and white vinegar. The baking soda will help gently scrub out any gunk hidden in the seams, while the vinegar will prevent molds and mildew from growing.

To test the seals, put any paper bill between the ref’s door and seals. When you close the door, the bill shouldn’t fall or slip out easily. If it does, the seals may be faulty and need to be replaced.

Fill It Up, but Don’t Overcrowd

Refrigerators have one main purpose: to keep food cool and fresh. Therefore, you need to actually use it to keep it at optimum performance. If you don’t have any food to store in the fridge, even a few pitchers of water will do. The same goes for the freezer. Placing one or two trays of ice cubes inside will be enough for it to work more efficiently.

On the other hand, your refrigerator will have to work extra hard if you fill it to the brim. The ideal amount of food and produce to store inside would be about 3/4 of the ref’s full capacity. This way, the cool air has space to circulate. Make sure not to block any air vents when placing food inside.
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Let Food Cool Down Before Putting It In

When you put hot food in your fridge, it will increase the ambient temperature. As a result, the condenser will have to work harder to restore the coolness. Letting your food sit for a while on the counter won’t make it spoil, so just wait until it cools down before placing it inside the refrigerator.

Set It to the Ideal Temperature

The ideal temperature inside your refrigerator is 2 to 4 degrees Celsius. Usually, this is the “normal” setting of your refrigerator. If you have more food inside, you might need to turn up the settings to keep food sufficiently cool. Meanwhile, the freezer should be at zero degrees so it can freeze ice and keep products like uncooked meat fresher for longer.

If you think your fridge isn’t cooling properly or reaching the right temperatures, you can buy a refrigerator thermometer. Check the results and have your refrigerator repaired accordingly.

Clean the Condenser Coils

Among the most important parts of your refrigerator are the condenser coils. They cool and condense the refrigerant, as well as release heat, to keep the temperature inside the fridge at the right levels. If the condenser coils are dirty or blocked, they won’t be able to work efficiently. Thus, they will consume more energy and experience more wear and tear.

Depending on the model of your refrigerator, you can find the condenser coils at the back or bottom of the unit. You can clean them using a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment or even just a stiff brush to remove dirt, dust, pet hair, and other debris. Make sure to clean the condenser fan as well. Do this every 5 to 6 months or more often if you have pets that shed a lot of fur.

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Change the Water Filter Regularly

For refrigerators with built-in ice makers and/or water dispensers, you need to change the water filter based on the recommended schedule in the owner’s manual. This will ensure that the water and ice produced by the fridge are free from germs and other contaminants.

Open It Only When Needed

Last but not least, one of the simplest yet most effective ways to keep your fridge in good working order is to keep it closed. That is, open it only when you need to put in or take out something. Frequently opening the refrigerator lets in warm air, which in turn makes the condenser work double-time to compensate.

To prevent the frequent opening and closing of the fridge, simply take note of all the items you need and then take them out as quickly as you can. Don’t forget to make sure that the door is completely closed (the gasket is flat against the door’s edge) once you’re done.

Of course, you should also deep-clean your refrigerator regularly to remove the frost from the freezer, as well as to remove smells and stains. Overall, however, you can see how simple it is to maintain your fridge. Write these tips down and stick them onto your fridge’s door so you don’t forget!

Article written by Aica Tolosa.